Flexible working, is it here to stay and does it work for you?
Where are you reading this from? Home office, lounge, kitchen, spare bedroom, garden shed, garage? And how are you enjoying it?
Mixed responses are likely!
Like it or lump it, this is the situation for the foreseeable and businesses are having to adapt to it. For some the switch has been seamless, for others there has been a lot of “catching up” to do. Either way, once things return to normal there won’t be many businesses that are not set up to facilitate working from home as much as possible.
Working from home comes with a number of benefits, not just for employees and employers, but for the world as a whole and the environment as we see a reduction in travel and therefore in pollution and Co2 emissions. Let’s face it, travelling for an hour to a box in the city, just to spend all day emailing and calling people sitting in other boxes is very often completely unnecessary. Added to the planet-friendly reduction in pollution levels, who wants to spend 2 hours of their day stuck in a stuffy tube!
But it’s not all rosy and glorious is it? Working from home can be lonely, it can be full of distractions, and if you don’t have the space or equipment you need, then it can be frustrating. The value of working from home can depend on what you are doing. Need a bit of silence to concentrate, and long to escape the din of an open plan office? Then it’s a fantastic way to get some quiet time to finish a project, assuming there are no kids or dogs at home to distract you. Need to brainstorm and understand how to motivate your team? That isn’t quite so easy from a distance.
So is working from home better than working in the office? It’s likely the answer is the same as it has always been – sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. So why hasn’t flexible working been the norm in all businesses for many years?
It could be the answer is one of trust, businesses have been unwilling to put their trust in their employees to work from home. They haven’t considered how to measure output in order for employer and employee to have a good understanding of what is expected of each of them in a flexible working arrangement.
Lots of businesses have been ahead of the curve in trusting their staff to allow flexible working and have reaped the rewards in loyal employees, but many have lagged behind.
When things return to normal, lagging behind is no longer an option. Under more pressure than ever to thrive, businesses that have been forced to trust their employees to work remotely are going to see a really negative impact if that trust is later withdrawn.
Flexible working is here to stay!